Program notes from the playwright, Iris Bahr

I have never been one of those people that hungers to discuss politics, if only for the fact that I find that most such political “discussions” are just shouting matches between people whose minds have already been made up, listening is non-existent, food is flung and historical facts are tossed about like ego-filled “I’m right!” confetti.

Of course the recent developments in Gaza have made avoiding such “discussions” virtually impossible. The minute people hear I’m Israeli, I’m immediately barraged with accusations. I usually know how things will go down before they even start: I will express compassion for the Palestinian People, mourn the loss of all innocent life on both sides, they’ll state human rights abuse and occupation as the cause, I’ll tell them “We want a two state solution, Hamas wants us obliterated” throwing in a “We weren’t even in Gaza anymore!” the words professional aggressor and professional victim will be thrown around, we will both sprinkle in some “What a double standard!” and “We have no choice!” justifications, until we are both so emotionally drained that I ask to change the subject to something much less controversial, like my highly-lauded performance on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but to no avail. The conflict waxes and wanes, fades in and out of tragedy on both sides, and unlike the people on the ground, we ride the roller coaster in our hearts and minds, which is a luxury, just like those so-called political discussions are a luxury.

As there always seems to be enough “I’m right” facts to go around, what I prefer to share with you are human stories that embody the splintered Israeli psyche as I have come to know and experience it, through conflict as well as calm; a psyche that obviously deals, not only with constant Israel-specific issues like religious/national identity, Zionism/Post Zionism and the price of peace, but with universal issues of love, loss, family and heartbreak. I hope these stories will entertain, illuminate, humanize, and perhaps lessen the food flinging, especially during this volatile time. Thank you.

                                                                                                                                    — Iris Bahr